Cryptocurrency hardware wallets offer offline protection of private keys. Most are locked with a password but provide the user with an unencrypted seed recovery phrase. Usually, a few paper sheets are included in the package to write down the recovery phrase, which consists of 24 random words.
This storage method is not only complicated but also raises safety concerns: where and how to store the backup seed phrase written on paper?
Additional fire, water and tamper-resistant devices are available on the market to store backups. These metal seed storage devices have been stress tested and the results are exhaustively covered by Jameson Lopp here, followed by his most recent review.
What many manufacturers of BIP39 standard cryptocurrency hardware wallets avoid sharing with the users is that the expense doubles when purchasing a wallet plus a seed storage device. Trezor sells its hardware wallet Trezor One in Europe for 83.49 €, and offers a package with Cryptosteel for 180.29 €.
At least Trezor is honest that owing their hardware wallet can entail additional cost and offers the package at a reduced price. Many others offer their devices for a hefty price, such as Cobo Vault that sells for outstanding 479 $.
BC VAULT: Features to Look out for
1) Sleek Design
2) Encrypted Backups
The BC VAULT hardware wallet offers encrypted backups by default. It is currently the only long-term offline storage device with this function. Instead of providing you with a single, unencrypted recovery seed, The BC Vault allows you to back up each crypto wallet individually as many times you want.
Backups can be saved on secure memory cards (one 1GB microSD card is already included in the package) or in the form of printable QR codes. You can encrypt each backup with a password of your own choosing, and store them on different locations or distribute them among family or friends, should you wish so.
3) Independently Generated Private Keys
Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey and similar hardware wallets use the BIP39/44 standard to generate private keys, meaning all crypto wallets stored on the device are connected and can be accessed with the same login details or recovery seed phrase.
The BC VAULT, on the other hand, acts as a true random number generator (RNG) and can create more than 2000 individual, non-deterministic wallets. None of the private key is mathematically linked to another, so if any of your wallet gets compromised, others you store in the Vault remain safe.
— Alen Salamun (@AlenSalamun) May 27, 2019
4) Individual PIN and Passcode Encryption
To access your wallets, you will need to log into the BC Vault device and its native app. The application password is entered with a keyboard, so you can choose from any character, for example: bcvault1!
The Device Pin is entered with a directional pad. It can be any directional sequence, for example: up-down-right.
To easily remember the different PIN and password, you can match them, for example in length, but more tips and hints are available here. The PIN or password (or both) can also be set as empty and confirmed as “no-input”. This allows you to protect your wallets with two different codes, but also gives you the option to have only one or none.
Each individual wallet stored in the BC VAULT can also be locked with a separate Password and Pin. That means you have the option to input 4 different codes to sign a transaction, and can use the device as a conceptual MultiSig wallet, where codes are distributed among different people that input their code to sign a transaction.
A single device can also be used by family and friends, where all users know the Application Password and Device Pin, but they each have separate Wallet Passwords and Pins and can make separate encrypted backups.
With the BC VAULT you will thus receive a MultiSig wallet you can share with others for the price of a single device and at no hidden additional costs to store your backups.
5) Secure Storage
Data in the BC VAULT is stored in FRAM, a secure chip that protects wallets to potential malware on connected devices and guarantees reliable data storage for over 200 years. FRAM has a 1000x faster throughput than Flash, and enables smooth firmware updates.
Anyone who ever got frustrated when removing apps before firmware updates on Ledger, because the device got stuck on the “UPDATE” screen, will seriously appreciate having the BC VAULT.
6) Convenient use
- Multi-crypto and native support of all ERC20 tokens, seamless use of SegWit and Legacy addresses
Another important advantage of the BC VAULT hardware wallet is that you can manage multiple cryptocurrencies simultaneously in a single app. Its app is the first to support native storage of all ERC-20 tokens. Both Ledger and Trezor rely heavily on 3rd party apps and websites for their “long” list of supported cryptocurrencies, while with the BC VAULT you will be able to natively store and transfer BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, BNB, DASH, XRP, XLM, and many other supported currencies.
In addition, the BC VAULT supports seamless use of SegWit and Legacy addresses within each BTC wallet, while BCH wallets support both the legacy address format and the new Cashaddr address format.
- Large display and D-pad
The biggest security issue with crypto transfers is not a sophisticated attack from the outside but a simple irreversible mistake made by the user. Many mistakes can be avoided simply by providing all the information to the user on a large screen.
The 2.42-inch OLED 128×64-pixel display fits all-important transaction details on the screen, including the full deposit address, sent amount and fees. The device also shows warnings about unusually high fees. Ledger and Trezor devices are clumsy to use, either their display is too small or PIN input and navigation is complicated. The BC VAULT features a 4-way D-pad, which makes things much easier, faster and efficient.
Cryptocurrencies are based on anonymity and privacy. But how private and safe are your wallets if all of them can be traced back to one seed phrase, and, furthermore, if manufacturers are able to track and link owners to their devices.
Competing hardware wallets are traceable due to the Unique Private Key that is sent to their HSM every time the device is used. Their secure chips also have serial numbers to check the authenticity of the devices, which can be linked to users (shipping address). The BC VAULT, on the other hand, tracks nothing and has no serial number.
8) Bounty Wallet
Ledger and especially Trezor devices face serious security issues. The Wallet.fail presentation has shown that both can be breached. What is even more troublesome, Trezor stores the recovery seed phrase unencrypted in RAM and can be cloned as its software is open source.
Ledger is only partially open-sourced (applications are, but the operating system is not). Open source is overrated – as nicely put by Jesse Powell, someone will learn how to exploit it sooner or later.
PLEASE do not store more coins on an exchange (including @krakenfx) than you need to actively trade. Use @LedgerHQ or @Trezor. DEXes are not a panacea — look at The DAO. Open source just means exploits will be discovered sooner (probably not by good guys). 🙏 https://t.co/LmzhtCjpM0
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) January 16, 2019
In comparison, the BC VAULT has a bounty wallet that encourages every user to perform black-box security testing. Each device is pre-loaded with a private key that corresponds to a public address owning 1 BTC.
As an act of confidence in the bullet-proof encryption, the bounty wallet is encrypted the exact same way as other BC VAULT wallets. Anyone able to breach the encryption may take the prize.